Bruce Hornsby And Justin Vernon’s New Song ‘Cast-Off’ Is As Delightful As It is Unexpected

With seemingly every early 2010s band going full dad rock lately, I guess it makes sense that Bruce Hornsby and Justin Vernon have collaborated on a new song. The jam band legend has a new album, Absolute Zero, coming out next month, featuring collaborations with a bunch of notable musicians. “Cast-Off,” featuring the Bon Iver singer, has the be the most unexpected of them, but the song is pretty solid. I’d never noticed before that Hornsby and Vernon kind of sound alike, and at times it sounds like they’re echoing each other. Where does the Grateful Dead keyboardist begin and the woodsman of Wisconsin end? Is the dad-ification of 2010s indie rock a natural evolution of each band’s sound, or a reminder that we are all, day by day, crawling slowly toward the grave?

If you’re wondering how this collaboration came to be, Hornsby gave a press statement explaining some context.

“This song was put together in Eau Claire, WI last April, starting with an unused film cue, developed and expanded upon in the studio with spontaneous contributions from Sean Carey (who just walked in and started singing), Jeremy Ylvisaker (playing guitar that doesn’t sound like guitar!), Mike Lewis and JT Bates on sax and drums, Brad Cook (and later Noisemaker JV Collier) on bass, and Justin and I taking turns in the vocal booth trading ideas and melodies. Pretty much, mostly concocted right there at April Base!”

Listen to “Cast-Off” above.